Here are 9 tips on how to get a walking group together.
- Send out flyers to the people in your street, or any local clubs you’re part of.
- Consider people you already know socially and the sort of people you enjoy spending time with (you aren’t going to want to walk with people whose company you don’t enjoy).
- Aim for at least two other people to commit to get started. This way if one person can’t make it, you’ll still have someone to walk with.
- Try to expand your group but keep it to under 12 – you don’t want the group to be too big, especially if you are going to be walking near busy roads.
- Set a time that is convenient to everyone (or most people, most of the time – it might not suit everyone all the time)
- Organise an easily accessible meeting place which is close by. You can choose different places to walk but if they are too far away, it might put people off.
- Set a distance that everyone is comfortable with. You can increase the distance as everyone gets used to walking further.
- Warm up and stretch before you start – this can improve flexibility, prepare your muscles for being active and prevent injuries.
- Try to walk at a pace which suits everyone.
You could combine your walk with another social event such as meeting for coffee. Walk first and have a coffee when you’ve finished as a reward.
You could also try to combine it with a book club – you all read a book and then discuss it while you’re walking; or just chat and share stories along the way.
The benefits of walking
Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 35% and Type 2 diabetes by 40%. (Source: heartfoundation.org.au)
Regular walking can also:
- Manage weight, blood pressure & cholesterol
- Reduce your risk of some cancers
- Maintain bone density, reducing risk of osteoporosis and fractures
- Improve balance and coordination
- Improve self-esteem, mood and sleep quality
- Reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue
- Improve cognitive function, memory and attention in older people.